AUSTRALIA – New technology that uses the consumable liquid instead of compressed air to hydraulically form and fill the container on one machine simultaneously promises to dramatically simplifies the manufacture of rigid plastic containers for a wide range of consumer products.
The new LiquiForm technology by Amcor is expected to reduce capital costs and improve operating efficiency and product quality for consumer product manufacturers. LiquiForm delivers a reduction in operating costs of up to 25%, reduced manufacturing risk and greater flexibility in container design.
LiquiForm production process
The uniquely designed preform is placed in the mold and then the actual beverage or whatever product is to be bottled is forced at high pressure into the preform. This effectively molds the preform into the bottle shape, resulting in a filled bottle that is ready for capping and labelling.
LiquiForm is suitable for all beverage hot or cold fill applications and a range of non-beverage applications within a suitable viscosity range such as vegetable oils, lubricants, health and personal care products, food products etc.
Amcor’s Managing Director and CEO, Ken MacKenzie said, “I have been in the packaging industry for over 20 years and in my opinion, LiquiForm has the potential to be one of the most important breakthrough technologies in liquid packaging.
“This technology will transform the rigid plastic container manufacturing industry, providing significant benefits to all players throughout the value chain."
The LiquiForm concept was first developed by Amcor in 2006, and subsequently the Australian packaging giant set up a joint venture, LiquiForm Group, which owns the patented LiquiForm technology and related intellectual property. The joint venture has signed agreements with Sidel, Yoshino Kogyosho Co – one of Japan’s largest plastic bottle manufacturers - and Nestle Waters. Amcor and Sidel each own a 50% interest in the joint venture.
LiquiForm is now actively seeking additional commercial partners.The joint venture will issue licences allowing machine manufacturers to produce and sell equipment using the LiquiForm technology.
Amcor says it expects global demand for new blow molding and filling machines for which LiquiForm would be suitable to be approximately 800 machines per annum. The joint venture will target a significant portion of that annual demand for conversion to the LiquiForm technology, and the first full scale operation is expected to be commercialized in two to three years.
Ann O’Hara, President of LiquiForm, said, “LiquiForm represents a significant opportunity for the consumer products industry by creating a step-change in efficiency and flexibility.
"By partnering with respected equipment manufacturers as well as international converters and leading Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies, we are set up to have the technology achieve its full potential. And looking forward, we seek to make the technology widely available through a licensing and royalty system which encourages partners and licensees to invest in future innovation and development.”